Why Dustin Pedroia teaching Eduardo Rodriguez a pitch isn't all that weird

Rob Bradford
April 25, 2019 - 5:09 pm

The biggest news that came out of the Red Sox' win over the Tigers Wednesday night was how Eduardo Rodriguez learned his new and improved slider. That was because of who taught the Sox starter his new pitch, second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Meeting with the media prior to Thursday's series finale Alex Cora downplayed the meeting of the minds.

"You know what, at some point, somebody needs to give credit to Dana (LeVangie)," the Red Sox manager said. "One was Pedro (Martinez), the next one was Pedroia, who’s next? (Clubhouse attendant) Pookie (Jackson)? I heard it. I started laughing. I didn’t even know about it. Pedey’s not taking credit but if that’s the case, hey, he can help a lot of people here.

"One thing for sure, Eddie, like I said yesterday, you go back to the first two games and there’s two at-bats in the first game and one in Oakland and that’s good. If I can remember the bad at-bats or the bad matchups or what he did, and the first two is only three hitters, great. Just didn’t turn out to be the outings we wanted. Especially the one in Oakland, I think everybody knows about that play in right-center that we didn’t make. That made it look worse than what it was. He’s been good and the fastball has been good in the strike zone. It was that way in Oakland and it has happened that way the last three. We’ll keep pushing him. one thing for sure, we don’t him to feel satisfied. We want more. Now he’s going six. Well, you know what’s next? Let’s push you to go seven. That would be good because he is that talented. We are very proud of him. he’s been working hard. He worked hard in the offseason and I think the difference is that he had a regular offseason, a short one, but a regular one. It wasn’t rehab. Physically he looked great coming in and he’s strong right now and like I said yesterday and we’ve been saying all along, we’re very proud of him."

Cora explained that this sort of scenario actually isn't all that unusual.

For Pedroia alone, along with adjusting Eduardo Rodriguez's slider he has the example of helping David Price with his delivery in 2016. 

"It happens a lot, it happens a lot. It’s a different angle, you’re watching, you’re at second and short, you see the whole picture," he said. "It’s kind of like the catchers, they see the whole picture and maybe an infielder is late in his pre-set, and then they see it and they get a bad jump, and Christian (Vazquez) or Sandy (Leon), whoever’s catching, hey, just be ready earlier, that’s part of it. It’s something that I really like because that was the type of player that I was, you pay attention to details and you try to help people any way to be better because at the end, if that guy’s better, it’s helping my team and if my team wins the whole thing or whatever, it helps me. Not only financially, but as far as where you’re going to be in the game. People like those types of players, people who pay attention and help others to be better."

Cora could also draw on his own experience, citing an example from the 2007 American League Championship Series. After giving up a run in one of the two innings he pitched against the Indians in the regular season, then-closer Jonathan Papelbon came back in the postseason to pitch five scoreless innings vs. Cleveland.

"Yeah, there has to be a few," he said with a smile. "I mean, yeah. Um, Pap in ‘07, when Cleveland was getting to him here and all of a sudden, they didn’t recognize his split. "

Related: Dustin Pedroia taught Eduardo Rodriguez a new pitch (and it worked)